Efficient Equilibrium Testing under Adhesion and Anisotropy Using Empirical Contact Force Models

Kris Hauser, Shiquan Wang, Mark R. Cutkosky

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This paper presents a method for efficiently testing the stability of an object under contact that accommodates empirical models of admissible forces at individual contact points. It handles a diverse range of possible geometries of the admissible force volume, including anisotropy, adhesion, and even nonconvexity. The method discretizes the contact region into patches, performs a convex decomposition of a polyhedral approximation to each admissible force volume, and then formulates the problem as a mixed integer linear program. The model can also accommodate articulated robot hands with torque limits and joint frictions. Predictions of our method are evaluated experimentally in object lifting tasks using a gripper that exploits microspines to exert strongly anisotropic forces. The method is applied to calculate gripper loading capabilities and equilibrium predictions for a quadruped climbing robot on steep and overhanging terrain.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number8416785
Pages (from-to)1157-1169
Number of pages13
JournalIEEE Transactions on Robotics
Issue number5
StatePublished - Oct 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • climbing robots
  • end effectors
  • manipulators
  • Robots

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Control and Systems Engineering
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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